US Auto Sales Hit Coronavirus Nadir, Down 8% to 13.9 Million Units in 2022

2022 chevrolet silverado 3500 hd
US Auto Sales Bottom Out in 2022, Down 8% to 1.39MGeneral Motors
  • Full-size trucks have been pulling heavy duty for GM’s bottom line and helped the Detroit automaker top Toyota with total US sales for 2022.

  • Toyota’s Jack Hollis says the company expects US vehicle sales to reach the 15-million range in 2023 as the supply chain continues to recover, on the way to 16-17 million by the second-half of the decade.

  • Jeep continues to lead Stellantis among brands sold in the US, with 684,614 vehicles delivered last year, down 12%. Ram was next at 545,194, off 16%.

General Motors reclaims the number-one US bestseller spot from Toyota for 2022, a year after supply-chain shortages from the COVID-19 pandemic devastated every mainstream automaker’s sales. While GM was hit harder than Toyota in 2021, the Detroit manufacturer eked out first place in 2022 by just 165,630 units (including 9885 medium-duty trucks).


Toyota says it was the top automaker for retail sales in ’22, the 11thconsecutive year, with Camry the number-one passenger car for the 21stconsecutive year and Tacoma number-one among midsize trucks for 18 years.

When the dust settles from 2022 and sales are tallied for all automakers, the industry total in the US will be an estimated 13.9 million cars and light trucks, down 8% from 2021’s 15.1 million, according to Cox Automotive.

Ford, which continues to annoy analysts and reporters by releasing its sales numbers a day later than most other full-line automakers, said Tuesday its F-Series pickup trucks remain the nation’s absolute number-one bestseller, at more than 640,000 for 2022.

Alfred P. Sloan’s century-old GM model of “a car for every purse and purpose” splits its modern pickup trucks into two models, to the detriment of its claim of the number-one spot. Add Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra together and subtract the sold 9895 Silverado medium duty commercial trucks that were built by Navistar, and the GM pickup duo recorded sales of 763,876 last year, easily topping Ford’s F-Series.

Stellantis reports Ram sold 484,344 pickups, off 18%. Toyota sold 104,246 Tundras, up 27.2%, making it one of the Japanese automaker’s few gainers over 2021.

Nissan Titan sales fell 45% to 15,063, though its redesigned Frontier midsize truck was up 25.5% to 76,183.

Jack Hollis, Toyota Motor North America’s executive vice president for sales, says the company expects 2023 to reach the 15-million range as the supply chain continues to recover, on the way to 16-17 million by the second-half of the decade.

We’ll have a separate report on Ford’s sales (and others that come in shortly) later this week. Meanwhile, here’s a closer look at numbers for nine of the Top 10 US automakers:

1. General Motors (2,274,088 Units, Up 2.5%)

Cadillac was up 13.9% for the year, to 134,726, a sign that precious computer chips are still going into GM’s most profitable models first. Chevrolet sales rose 5.6%, to 1,518,048, and GMC was up 7.3%, to 517,649, while Buick—with three of its four models sourced from Asia—was off 42.4% to 103,519.

•After Silverado (513,354 for half-ton and heavy-duty), Chevy’s bestseller was the compact Equinox crossover, up 28.3% to 212,072.

•Thanks largely to addition of the larger hatchback EUV model, Chevrolet sold 38,120 Bolts, up 53.5%, surpassing Corvette sales of 34,510, a 4.4% increase over 2021.

cadillac lyriq
Cadillac Lyriq struggled in its launch year.General Motors

•GMC sold 241,522 Sierras, off 3%, and 82,304 Yukons, off 2.3%. It sold 854 Hummers, counted on the chart as a Hummer-sized 85,300% increase over the single such EV sold in ’21.

•By far Cadillac’s bestseller, Escalade sales were off just 0.6%, to 40,274, while XT4 sales jumped 88% to 21,774. Caddy’s bestselling sedan was the CT5, up 68.3% to 15,896. Cadillac sold 122 Lyriq EVs.

2. Toyota Motor North America (2,108,458, Down 9.6%)

Toyota division sold 1,849,754 cars and trucks, off 8.8%, while the Lexus brand was off 15%, to 258,704.

•RAV4 remains Toyota’s bestseller, at 399,941, down 1.9%, while Camry sales fell 5.9% to 295,201. Hybrid versions accounted for 149,938 of the RAV4s and 41,830 of the Camrys. Altogether, Toyota and Lexus sold 504,016 electrified vehicles, 23.9% of all cars and trucks sold, though down from 25% share in ’21.

•Toyota sold 56,666 of its Corolla Cross models, up from 7203 in its introductory year of 2021.

•Bestselling Lexus RX was down 16.7%, to 96,041, while its bestselling car, the ES, was off 8.1%, to 41,735. The flagship Lexus LS sedan was down 28.3%, to 2679.

toyota tundra
Toyota’s new Tundra.Toyota

Most Toyotas and Lexuses are selling at or near sticker price, Hollis says, though dealers have indicated in recent months they are discounting some less-than-hot mainstream models. Think “Corolla.” But skyrocketing materials costs and still-low inventories make MSRP discounts rare.

Toyota had fewer than 19,000 units (and Lexus fewer than 5000) in dealership inventories by the end of 2022, Hollis said. “Before the pandemic, you’d have 300,000 vehicles on the ground.”

3. Ford Motor Company (Est. 1,875,000*)

*We’ll update this sales report with actual numbers from Ford Thursday. For now, based on the trends from the third quarter of 2022, this is our estimate of Ford’s total for the year. For the first nine months of ’22, its sales were down 1.3% compared with the same period in 2021. Question is, with Ford concentrating increasingly on big pickup truck and commercial van sales, will Toyota permanently lead Ford as the number-two automaker in the US?

4. Stellantis (1,547,076, Down 13%)

Jeep continues to lead Stellantis among brands sold in the US, with 684,614 delivered last year, down 12%. Ram was next at 545,194, off 16%, while Dodge sold 190,785, down 12%, Chrysler sold 112,713 (mostly Pacifica minivans), down 2%, and Alfa Romeo sold 12,845, down 30%. Fiat has all but left the building, at 915 sold last year, down 61%.

•Lame-duck rear-drive Dodge Charger sales rose 2%, to 80,974, with Challenger up 1%, to 55,060. Chrysler 300 was down, however, by 15%, to 14,087.

•Jeep’s bestseller was again the Grand Cherokee, off 16% to 223,345, and the brand sold 11,736 Grand Wagoneers, up 33% from its launch year. Jeep Compass was up 14%, to 86,175.

5. Honda/Acura (983,507, Down 32.9%)

Honda division was off 32.7%, to 881,201, while Acura sales dropped 35%, to 102,306.

•Bestseller Honda CR-V dropped 34.1%, to 238,155.

2023 honda civic type r
Honda Civic Type R.Honda

•Accord sales fell 23.7%, to 154,612. Despite being replaced by an all-new model this month, the outgoing version of the midsize sedan did better than the compact Civic, which was down 49.2%, to 133,932.

•Honda Pilot, also due for replacement this month, was off 22.3%, to 99,567.

•The new Integra has taken off to become Acura’s bestselling car in its first year, with 13,027 sold. MDX is Acura’s overall bestseller, at 46,425, off 22.7%. RDX deliveries fell 56.6% to 24,749.

6. Nissan/Infiniti (729,350, Down 3.6%)

Nissan division sales fell 25.7%, to 682,731, and Infiniti was down 20.4%, to 46,619.

•Nissan Altima sales rose 34.9%, to 139,955. The Rogue crossover is the brand’s bestseller, at 186,480, down 34.7%. Sentra was down 39.7%, to 77,123.

•Two Infiniti crossovers posted year-over-year gains. The QX60 was up 184.3% to 16,573 delivered, and the QX55 was up 17.9% to 5106.

•Infiniti Q50 deliveries fell 65.6% to 4781, while Q60 was down 32.3% to 1847.

7. Hyundai (724,265, Down 2%)

Hyundai says it set a retail sales record last year, and posted a 29% overall sales increase for the fourth quarter of last year.

•Compact crossover Tucson is reliably Hyundai’s bestseller, up 16% last year to 175,307. Next-size-up Santa Fe rose 7%, to 119,589.

ioniq 5
Hyundai Ioniq 5.Hyundai - Hearst Owned

•Hyundai’s bestselling car, the compact Elantra, was not far behind Santa Fe, though its sales fell 6% to 117,177.

•Ioniq5 EV sales totaled 22,982 for the year, compared with 19,885 un-numbered Ioniqs in ’21.

8. Kia (693,549, Down 1.1%)

Kia also claims record retail sales for last year, with 654,554 deliveries, a 1.7% increase over the previous record in 2021.

•Sportage is Kia’s bestseller, at 125,245, up 53.5%.

•Forte is next, down 6.5% to 108,424.

•The well-reviewed large SUV was up 6.6%, to 99,891.

9. Subaru (556,581, Down 4.7%)

Riding high for years—the brand’s sales were about equal to Mitsubishi’s in the 200,000 range a generation ago—Subaru took a hard hit from the coronavirus supply chain blockage in 2021, but began to claw back last year.

•The compact crossover Crosstrek became the brand’s bestseller last year, up 21.7% to 155,142. Outback was second in sales, down 4.8% to 147,262.

•Forester deliveries were down 26.3%, to 114,096. Subaru sold 919 Solterra EVs.

10. Tesla (Est. 525,000, Up 48.9%*)

*Based on estimates by Cox Automotive, as Tesla (in)famously does not report US sales results. While such very impressive numbers are likely to retain Tesla’s title as the nation’s bestselling luxury/premium brand, they fall short of the all-important Wall Street expectations.